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How a Newbie Survived Her Bathroom Renovation

Okay I will admit. I’ve always possessed a soft spot for stylish looking bathrooms since my teenage days. I guess growing up in a timeworn 3-room flat in Holland Village probably influenced my addiction for swanky toilets.

Even though the bathroom is one of the simplest spaces in my home – it’s situated near to my kitchen and living room. Other than me, it has pretty much become one of the most frequently used space by my house guests.

You see, a part of me is constantly conscious that visitors might just critically roll their eyes around in my bathroom, checking for flaws or other imperfections. Thus, I thought it would be worthwhile to transform this fairly basic space into an inviting one to leave an impression.

How a Newbie Survived Her Bathroom Renovation - angry girl
Photo Credit: flickr

Being a newbie, I was obviously a little nervous because the thought of embarking on a bathroom renovation in Singapore would likely be a challenging ordeal, especially when I have a not-so-big budget too.

Nonetheless, I wasn’t discouraged and I told myself this, “Having a $15k renovation budget does not mean my bathroom cannot look as though it has been taken out of a decor magazine!” No sir.

So what did I do? First, I started off by scouring the web for those stylish bathroom design ideas that caught my eye, saved them into my computer and narrowed it down to my best loved ‘Jamban’ style (Malay for bathroom).

Leveraging on technology again, I then obtained a handful of sales quotations from a network of accredited Renovation Contractors in just a few days, and hired one that fulfilled my stringent requirements.

And within a week, the details of my bathroom renovation started falling in place. To ‘flaunt’ the creativity in me, I decided to go for a nicely done up vanity (aka vanity cabinet) as a focus point, so as to spruce up the toilet with some decorative amenities and instil a modern style charm.

Gorgeous Bathroom Vanity

How a Newbie Survived Her Bathroom Renovation - Bathroom by Dots N Tots Interior Group Pte Ltd
Photo Credit: Dots N Tots Interior Group Pte Ltd

Does having a gorgeously good-looking vanity matter? Apparently it is for me. Ambiance is what I am talking about here. A unique piece of vanity cabinet in the bathroom provides a captivating showcase, translating the ‘User Experience’ into a harmonious mix of aesthetics and character. Girls will understand this…

Because I was bent on creating my dream bathroom, I took time and effort to shop around for some good quality buys such as the wash basin, taps, toilet bowl and accessories from different bathroom accessories suppliers.

How a Newbie Survived Her Bathroom Renovation - vanity cabinet
Photo Credit: tradewindsimports

As the floor area of my bathroom is rather small, my renovation contractor proposed to create an impression of open space free of clutter. Since I also have a lot of toiletries and other ‘barangs’, they designed a floating vanity, with built-in cabinetry and cleverly hidden shelving that allow all my unwanted personal items hidden, away from the view of any inquisitive visitors.

After thinking through and wanting to spice things up further, I opted for an oak colour for the entire vanity cabinet and added some flashy fixtures to create a more luxurious experience.

Bathroom Tiles

How a Newbie Survived Her Bathroom Renovation - ceramic tile

Comparing with western homes, I honestly think the bathrooms in our HDB flats look claustrophobic. To resolve this, my renovation contractor suggested using large sized ceramic tiles that are neutral-coloured. They were laid out in a diagonal pattern on the floor and a horizontal pattern on the wall, creating an optical illusion that the space is larger.

Tiles with various shades of the same neutral-tone were used to add visual interest and depth on the walls. The tiles were then sealed to resist water infiltration and are relatively easy to care for. This created an authentic look of natural stone, which was a great choice for me because I simply love the rustic appearance that gave my bathroom a unified and harmonious character.

Bathroom Greenery

How a Newbie Survived Her Bathroom Renovation - plants for bathroom
Photo Credit: jasperandeve

Being a long time nature enthusiast, I am a strong advocate that green plants and flowers can brighten up any space, making them fresh and inviting. So, I attempted to bring the flora experience into my bathroom by adding orchids and a few small pots money plant. I bought them from a florist at the wet market for less than $20.

Making a colourful impact, the purple orchids was a perfect complement next to the white wash basin, while the money plants injected green lushness in the bathroom space. Best of all, they don’t require much attention and keeps growing because the bathroom’s high humidity makes it a perfect environment for these moisture-loving plants.

I also noticed how much my guests found delight and pleasant surprise in the bathroom greenery, which instantly created a sense of charm and serenity that left them lounging as they closed that door behind them. Not long after, I decided to add more plants in the kitchen and in the living area.

Sexy Bathroom Amenities

How a Newbie Survived Her Bathroom Renovation - bathroom amenities
Photo Credit: Amari 

If you pay more attention to details, you’ll realise that essential items or amenities can help to enliven a dull and uninteresting bathroom. Simple items like toilet paper, tissue paper boxes and bottle dispensers can help to add a whiff of artistic character for the bathroom space.

Since these amenities are a must-have in any bathrooms, I replaced old-fashioned toilet papers with those that sport decorative motif patterns. Next, I placed some nicely folded paper towels into a small but elegant looking woven basket, and also added fancy hand-wash dispensers that would make any house guests eagerly stick their hands under those lovely bottles!

A previous staycation at the St. Regis hotel left me extremely impressed with their well-stocked five-star bathroom. So with mine newly done up, I filled a tubside bin with an assortment of sea sponges, bath salts, loofahs and bath brushes – just as what you’d expect to find in a spa or high-end hotel. They are inexpensive items which I picked up easily at Daiso ($2 store).

I also filled the shelves with some decorative citrus-scented candles which I purchased from Ikea. My intention was to create a soft and pleasant setting to complete the design and ambiance.


My bathroom is now a nice little retreat not only for me but also my visitors. If you’re planning to renovate your bathroom, I hope my bathroom renovation experience in this article would help you more or less. Last but not least, just make sure you and your spouse are unanimous in your enthusiasm before you let your imagination run wild for your dream bathroom, have fun!

A creative director by day and a serial blogger by night, Nikita lives alone with her 2 tabby cats. She loves cooking for her friends on weekends.